Strongman Equipment Buying Guide
Article by Kalle beck
So you want to start strongman and you can’t find a gym near you with any of the implements. (Make sure to check www.strongmanmap.com to make sure) Or maybe you just prefer training at home but you are not sure where to start? What do I buy first? Where Do I get a log? Should I get a 10” or 12”? Hopefully this guide can help answer your questions and get you started.
When choosing what to buy first to prepare you for competition you have to look at what is the most likely to appear at a competition and what is the hardest to replicate without the actual implement. I have broken it down to The Big Three.
Go with the thickest heaviest Yoke you can afford/train on. the lighter the yoke and thinner steel it is made with the more it will flex and sway as you walk making it a lot harder than a solid Super Yoke. Remember though if you are a 320lb heavyweight man it will be hard to get lightweight and female training partners if your yoke is 500+lbs empty.
What to look for
The feet are not long enough. This is dangerous as if they are too short the yoke can tip over.
Too thin of a Crossbar. The crossbar should be at least 3” pipe as a thin crossbar will feel horrible on your back.
Too narrow/wide between the uprights. I’ve seen yokes so wide anyone under 5’10 can’t grip the uprights and some so narrow a Heavyweight barely fits between them.
For Men go with a 12” log 90% of contests will be a 12” log. Practice as close to how you will play as possible. For women a 10” log is more common. Don’t go with a log that is too heavy for your strength level most 12” training logs will be 90+lbs empty so take this into account when shopping for a log. Also don’t just think of yourself but the others that are likely to use your equipment.
What to look for
Unbalanced. Pressing a log where the weight is shifted towards the front or back is awful! This is why it is important to buy from a reputable fabricator.
Handles are too wide/narrow. If the handles are not set to the standard (24”) it will be very different from competition and will not prepare you properly
Overall length is too narrow. You want the log to be at least 5’ long any narrower and you can not rack it on pins to press out of the rack from plus it just has a weird feel.
I highly recommend getting Slater stone molds or contacting someone in your area to make them for you. for Most males a 18” Stone mold will be the best place to start and a 16” mold for Women. You can make a stone from 200-300lbs with an 18” mold and a 150-200lb stone with a 16” mold.
These three are very common in strongman competitions and next to impossible to mimic without the actual implement, they are very specific skills that need to be practiced. The Log and yoke are also going to be the biggest initial investment with a 12” log running 350-500+$$ and a yoke running slightly more.
After this I classify the next group of equipment into essentials that can be acquired from free-150$
Most farmers walks handles in competition will be a handle about 1 1/4″ I feel like out of all the implements farmers walks vary the most from show to show. From different pick heights to size of the handles to big bulky oxygen tanks to thin pipe style farmers. For your first set I feel a set of economy pipe style farmers are best with 1 1/4″ handles and a pick height of 14-16″s. Make sure when ordering the implement is long enough that you will not hit your feet on plates when walking with the implement.
You can buy one for under 150 dollars from most manufactures or make one from 1.5” pipe for under 40. Just make sure it is a full size axle (7 feet long) and not a stumpy axle.
Tires: Call tire shops in your area that specialize in agriculture they will have old tires they will gladly give you away for free as it costs them money to dispose of the old tires.
Look for 25” tires you do not want that is too thin as it is dangerous for the biceps. A 500-700lb tire is a good place to start. Here is a basic guide on finding the right weight tire.
20.5×25 = 300-400lbs
23.5×25 = 400-600lbs
26.5×25 = 700-1000lbs
If there is an R on the tread example 23.5x25R it means it is a Radial and it should weigh about 200lbs more than listed above. Of course weights will vary due to tread wear and different style tires this is simply a ball park.
They are getting harder and harder to find. I suggest putting an ad on craigslist and contacting bars. You can always buy one drink it and not return it as well… Here is a guide to get the keg to the right weight for you.
You can add water to the sand/concrete to make them heavier or supplement with lead shot to make some really heavy kegs! I suggest using sand as water sloshes around and is very awkward.
Sandbags: I highly recomend getting Strong Fit sand bags from www.strongfit.com they are the best bags I have found on the market and come in different sizes for different weights.
The next step
Once you have required the essentials the next step is completely preparing you for anything. These implements include
duck walk/power stairs
Odds & Ends
This consists of bigger more expensive items that you can consider adding to your gym to make it a true strongman mecca
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